The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering

Mastering Complexity

by Sanjoy Mahajan

DescriptionTable of ContentsDetailsHashtagsReport an issue

Book Description

This book shows us that the way to master complexity is through insight rather than precision. Precision can overwhelm us with information, whereas insight connects seemingly disparate pieces of information into a simple picture. Unlike computers, humans depend on insight. Based on the author's fifteen years of teaching at MIT, Cambridge University, and Olin College, The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering shows us how to build insight and find understanding, giving readers tools to help them solve any problem in science and engineering.

To master complexity, we can organize it or discard it. The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering first teaches the tools for organizing complexity, then distinguishes the two paths for discarding complexity: with and without loss of information. Questions and problems throughout the text help readers master and apply these groups of tools. Armed with this three-part toolchest, and without complicated mathematics, readers can estimate the flight range of birds and planes and the strength of chemical bonds, understand the physics of pianos and xylophones, and explain why skies are blue and sunsets are red.

This open book is licensed under a Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-SA). You can download The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering ebook for free in PDF format (6.4 MB).

Table of Contents

Part I
Organizing Complexity
20
Chapter 1
Divide and conquer
22
Chapter 2
Abstraction
46
Part II
Discarding Complexity Without Losing Information
74
Chapter 3
Symmetry and Conservation
76
Chapter 4
Proportional Reasoning
122
Chapter 5
Dimensions
156
Part III
Discarding Complexity with Loss of Information
216
Chapter 6
Lumping
218
Chapter 7
Probabilistic Reasoning
254
Chapter 8
Easy Cases
298
Chapter 9
Spring Models
336

Book Details

Publisher
MIT Press
Published
2014
Pages
409
Edition
1
Language
English
ISBN13 Digital
9780262526548
ISBN10 Digital
0262526549
PDF Size
6.4 MB
License
CC BY-NC-SA

Related Books

Satellite Earth Observations and Their Impact on Society and Policy
The result of a workshop bringing together an international advisory board of experts in science, satellite technologies, industry innovations, and public policy, this book addresses the current and future roles of satellite Earth observations in solving large-scale environmental problems. The book showcases the results of engaging distinct communi...
The Art of Community
Online communities provide a wide range of opportunities for supporting a cause, marketing a product or service, or building open source software. The Art of Community helps you recruit members, motivate them, and manage them as active participants. Author Jono Bacon offers experiences and observations from his 14-year effort to build and manage co...
Engineering a Better Future
This book examines how the social sciences can be integrated into the praxis of engineering and science, presenting unique perspectives on the interplay between engineering and social science. Motivated by the report by the Commission on Humanities and Social Sciences of the American Association of Arts and Sciences, which emphasizes the importance...
Reflections on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident
This book focuses on nuclear engineering education in the post-Fukushima era. It was edited by the organizers of the summer school held in August 2011 in University of California, Berkeley, as part of a collaborative program between the University of Tokyo and UC Berkeley. Motivated by the particular relevance and importance of social-scientific ap...
Non-Equilibrium Social Science and Policy
The overall aim of this book, an outcome of the European FP7 FET Open NESS project, is to contribute to the ongoing effort to put the quantitative social sciences on a proper footing for the 21st century. A key focus is economics, and its implications on policy making, where the still dominant traditional approach increasingly struggles to capture ...
Evidence Use in Health Policy Making
This book provides a set of conceptual, empirical, and comparative chapters that apply a public policy perspective to investigate the political and institutional factors driving the use of evidence to inform health policy in low, middle, and high income settings. The work presents key findings from the Getting Research Into Policy (GRIP-Health) pro...